Jane Campion returns to the kind of mythic frontier landscape – pulsating with both freedom and menace – that she previously traversed in The Piano in order to plumb the masculine psyche in The Power of the Dog, set against the desolate plains of 1920s Montana and adapted by the filmmaker from Thomas Savage‘s novel.
After a sensitive widow (Kirsten Dunst) and her enigmatic, fiercely loving son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) move in with her gentle new husband (Jesse Plemons), a tense battle of wills plays out between them and his brutish brother (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose frightening volatility conceals a secret torment, and whose capacity for tenderness, once reawakened, may offer him redemption or spell his destruction.
Campion, who won an Academy Award for her direction here, charts the repressed desire and psychic violence coursing among these characters with the mesmerizing control of a master at the height of her powers.
With some titles disappearing from streaming services, it’s nice to know that there will be physical copies of The Power of the Dog available – especially from The Criterion Collection, who have long celebrated Jane Campion’s work. This upcoming special edition includes numerous special features. There is a new interview with Campion about the making of the film, a documentary featuring interviews with members of the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage captured on location in New Zealand, an interview with composer Jonny Greenwood about the film’s score, an essay by film critic Amy Taubin and much, much more.
Watch the original trailer for The Power of the Dog below and click here to order your copy. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray at TLAgay!